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Pierre Ferrand Cigare

Review: Pierre Ferrand Cigare (Grande Champagne Cognac)  94/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
December 22, 2014

Pierre Ferrand uses only small (25-hectoliter) copper pot stills to produce their Cognac; and after distillation, the resulting distillate (eaux de vie) is matured in 270-liter French Limousin oak barrels. During this aging process, the cognac may rest in any of seven different aging cellars (each with traditional earthen floors). Within each of these cellars, the spirit is monitored, and may be transferred several times during its aging life to different cellars and/or to different oak casks (with differing char levels) to maintain the integrity and character of the spirit.

Pierre Ferrand Cigare was produced in very small quantities, created solely from aged eaux de vie produced within the 1st Cru de Cognac, specifically the Grande Champagne Cognac appellation of France. In producing the Cigare Cognac, the aim was to structure the final spirit such that it would be suitable for pairing with a fine Cigar, hence the name Pierre Ferrand Cigare. Although the final spirit has no age statement, according to the information provided to me, the Cognac is blended to achieve an average age of 25 years.

I was given a 200 ml bottle of the Pierre Ferrand Selection Des Anges by the good folks at River Valley Beverage Group who distribute the spirit here in Alberta. This bottle was part of a four bottle taster pack of XO Cognac which bring to the full range of Pierre Ferrand XO Grande Champagne Cognac to the consumer in a very attractive and affordable package.

2729_PF Cigare HD (1125x1500)In the Bottle 5/5

As I was given one of the 200 ml bottles from the Pierre Ferrand tasting pack I had to rely on this bottle shot from the Pierre Ferrand website to show you the normal 700 ml configuration. The bottle is tall and masculine representing a style of bottle which would be perfectly at home in a classy bar or restaurant. The bottle follows the bartenders creed being easy to hold, easy to store, and of course, most importantly, easy to pour.

And as you can see, the handsome bottle is housed in a fine-looking cardboard canister which adds to the ambiance of opening the bottle of the Cigare Cognac.

Note: The Pierre Ferrand Cigare is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.

In the Glass 9.5/10

When I poured a little of the Cigare Cognac into my tulip shaped glass, I noticed the colour of the spirit was a rich copper just turning towards bronze. When I gave the glass a slow tilt and twirl, a thick(ish) film was left behind, and the crest of that film seemed to want to take its time before releasing any of its droopy droplets back into the bottom of the glass.

The aroma is oak stained and decadent with dark dry fruit (dates, raisins and prunes), charred coconut, and roasted walnuts all rising into the breezes. I am also greeted with strong oak and cedar smells which carry a rich combination of leather and spice (hints of spicy clove mixed with allspice, and cinnamon and nutmeg) in their wake. As the glass sits, chocolate and caramel scents seem to drift into the breezes above the glass although these sweeter impressions are perhaps tainted with hints of charcoal and treacle. There is also bits of tar and licorice in the air as well, and the overall effect of the various scents and smells does indeed seems to be well suited for a cigar pairing.

In the Mouth 56.5/60

Oak, leather and spice run through the cognac which seems slightly dry as I take my first sip. I taste dark fruit (raisins, dates and figs) underneath, although the fruitiness is more an accent as the triumvirate of oak, leather and the spice are the main attractions. As I continue to sip, I notice flavours of vanilla, black licorice, and an almost rum-like impression of molasses and dark brown sugar have joined in as well as a welling up of dark chocolate and tobacco flavours.

I find the spirit rich and delicious; and although I am happy to have been given a 200 ml sample bottle, I must admit, I wish it were larger.

In the Throat 13.5/15

The exit features a spicy montage of oak, cinnamon, clove and nutmeg which all coat the palate and trail down the throat. As these spicy impressions subside we are left with a lingering impression of chocolate caramel sweetness with hints of black licorice.

The Afterburn 9.5/10

The Pierre Ferrand Cigare is a truly decadent cognac, and I found myself enjoying the rest of my small sample bottle as a late evening indulgence while I was sitting in my reclining chair by the television as watching old movies late on a Saturday night. Although the folks at Cognac Ferrand suggest that this spirit was created as a compliment for a fine cigar, I found myself instead pairing the Cognac with a mixture of dark Belgian chocolate and freshly shelled mixed Christmas nuts (walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, and almonds). Cigars are not for everyone, but this Cognac certainly should be.

You may click this link to read some of my other Brandy and Cognac Reviews.


My Final Score is out of 100 and you may (loosely) interpret the score as follows:

0-25     A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49   Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59  You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69   Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74    Now we have a fair mixing spirit. Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79    You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84    We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89    Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94    Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+       I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.

Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and  Bronze medal  scale as follows:

70 – 79.5    Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5     Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95         Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+            Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)




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